Hello folks, how're you? It is wonderfully sunny out here, and our lockdown in the UK is reversing, albeit slowly and gingerly, which is probably the best way. I've even booked a table at our favourite pub for lunch on Saturday afternoon and am so looking forward to it. Sitting out in the sunshine and having a meal is a simple pleasure that has been denied us for so long, it feels decidedly decadent to finally be able to do it. Apparently it's going to get even warmer next week -oooh! bring on summer. If it gets any warmer I shall sit on a bench in the sun and eat grapes, which hubby will have to peel and pop into my mouth one by one. Yes, I know it's meant to be the other way around, but that's not how it works in our house, I'm afraid.
That's enough of my orgiastic daydreams, let me show you some jewellery!
I made this one early on in the week, while the weather was decidedly cooler. Biwa and baroque pearls with accents of titanium vapour coated quartz shards and a silver pendant are the elements in this piece. The blue of the quartz jives with the blue chalcedony that dominates the art nouveau silver pendant.
Blue ice occurs when snow on a glacier becomes compressed by further snowfall. It eventually becomes part of the glacier, but during the process of compression, air bubbles are squeezed out, and consequently large ice crystals enlarge.
Ice in small amounts appears white because of air bubbles inside it. Small quantities of ice/water appear to be colourless. In glaciers, the pressure of fresh snowfall causes the air bubbles to be squeezed out, increasing the density of the created ice. A large piece of compressed ice, or a glacier, appears blue, just as large expanses of water are blue - this is because the red (long wavelength) part of white light is absorbed by ice/water and the blue (short wavelength) light is transmitted and scattered. The longer the path light travels in ice or water, the more blue it appears.
There are large quantities of blue ice in Alaska, which, being so well compressed, can take the weight of a plane and are therefore used as runways.
Let me show you the beautiful necklace before I blind you with facts. I don't mean to bore anyone, but I do like to say a few words about the inspiration for a piece and its name.
Although the main stone is a deep blue, it is offset by an amethyst and a garnet as well as another blue chalcedony teardrop.
I wore the necklace to work this morning - and so many people stopped to say how nice it was and how much they loved it, that was really nice. My friend quickly took a couple of pictures before I changed into my scrubs, and here they are. The pearls reflect a glow onto the face.
Hubby had his second dose of the vaccine today and I was really anxious as he has a nasty propensity to develop allergic reactions to various things - and that would put a kybosh on my weekend plans (only joking - I was on tenterhooks until I drove him home and he scoffed a couple of sausages and kept them down). He seems not to have suffered any ill effects, so the weekend's back on, hooray!!
Both of us got haircuts as well as soon as it was legal - I cut Mikes hair during lockdown and he was quite pleased with it which led me to think I might develop another sideline as a hairstylist - until I was tutted at disapprovingly and the woman told me off- she said that I was a 'hairdressers nightmare'. I think she was just safeguarding her job, he didn't look that bad to me. She's now almost shorn him, her excuse was that she was repairing my errors. Poor Mike!
That's me for now, folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello people, how are you? Our ordeal is almost at an end now, with the lockdown in the UK set to be seriously relaxed on the 12th of April. People - well, sensible people anyway, have had their vaccinations, knowing that the risk benefit ratio is loaded against those who choose not to get their jabs. However, travel is still prohibited, and unless one can furnish a good enough reason a fine of £5000 is likely to be involved (ouch!). I have no plans to go anywhere till the end of August, and who knows whether it will actually happen.
I thought it had been ages since I used my kiln, so I made tiny earring components with Art Clay Silver - I didn't put any holes in the components on purpose, as I intend to practice soldering techniques once the weather is warmer so that by the end of the exercise, I shall be an expert. All flame making activity is restricted to the conservatory which has no heating so I can't use it in the winter apart from a bit of photography. I don't want to risk burning the house down though, so summer is when I shall play with my torch.
I finally finished the beetle wing necklace that has taken me ages - I think it was because I did the whole lot in black beads apart from the gold edging. I'm used to loads of colour, texture and shapes and the single colour became a bit monotonous. Here's the piece from its conception to completion.
A few more pictures for you - this necklace is called Belle, the beautiful green wings of the jewellery beetle could easily be wings from the absinthe fairy, or La Fee.
This is an art nouveau depiction of the Absinthe Fairy by Pearllight studio, a blog written/drawn by a mixed media artist.
Now that lockdown is easing a bit, I had a friend come and visit me and we had some fun taking photographs of her wearing a few pieces by Caprilicious. Rachel is a journalist from India and we met a number of years ago through Caprilicious. I meet up with her every year when I'm in India on holiday and was pleased that I could have her over while she was in the UK at a course. She picked up a few pieces from Caprilicious and we spent a sunny afternoon taking pictures and trying on jewellery.
That's me for today, folks. Have a wonderful week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you this week? In the UK, the end of the tunnel is nigh upon us with lockdown set to ease (not end, though) gingerly on the 12th of April, and we take faltering baby steps into the wide blue yonder. Foreign travel is still going to be limited for a while and with the rest of the world still poorly vaccinated and a lot of Europe in lockdown, it makes sense to stay put.
My fritillaries, wood anemones and narcissi are out in the little patch on the front of the house and as ever, they are a joy to behold. I even have my first camellia - we bought the little shrub last year in full flower, so I'm enjoying the buds blossoming this time around.
The slab nuggets from this piece were cut from a piece of citrine druzy such as the one depicted here. As with all druzy, the edges glint in the light, and the beads look like sugar slices half immersed in coffee. The pendant is set in silver and contains moldavite and turquoise as well as a single green onyx. The accents pick up the turquoise in the pendant with antique silver beads I found in India. The blue brightens up the yellow/brown of the citrine - an entirely brown necklace is not my idea of fun, however beautiful the beads may be individually! The piece was inspired by photographs I took on a trip to Positano a number of years ago, with its dramatic vertical panorama of colors; the green of the Monti Lattari, the white, pink and yellow of the Mediterranean houses, the silvery grey of its pebble beaches and the blue of the sea.
I have been plugging away at my embroidered piece and it is almost done - well, it may be finished come the end of next week, unless something else crops up. I'm quite happy with the way it is turning out, slowly but surely. I've never done a whole piece in one colour and it's doing my head in a bit, but I'm restraining myself from going into my usual frenzy of multi colour beads.
That's me for this week folks, have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place. Oh, and before I forget, Happy Easter, to those who celebrate!
Until next week,
Hello lovely people, how are you today? It turned a year since the UK first went into lockdown on the 23rd of March - a time for introspection and for being grateful for all the hard work put in by my colleagues in the NHS. I lit a candle in my porch that night in gratitude, and in memory of those who didn't survive, notably a wonderful woman called Dawn Downes, who was a theatre practicioner when I first came to Nuneaton over 20 years ago - she was a load of fun, larger than life, and an all round good egg. We became friends over the patients we cared for and later on over Caprilicious when she helped out with displays at shows. I will miss her cheerful presence in the hospital.
Ebony and Ivory
Before any one gets on the 'OMG! ivory!!' bandwagon, there's neither ebony nor ivory in this piece, the name is just a play on monochrome. The hand cut chunks of black tourmaline have their crystals aligned in parallel, vertical lines which make a beautiful pattern on the outside of the beads. The most spectacular tourmaline crystals are formed by hydrothermal activity when hot waters and vapors carry the elements needed to form tourmaline into pockets and fractures, which offer space for crystal growth. The tourmaline crystals formed in these cavities range in size from tiny millimeter crystals to massive prisms weighing over 100 kilograms.
The baroque pearls come from Bali and are heavy, large, creamy and luscious. Baroque pearls are pearls with an irregular non-spherical shape. They aren't all regular and round like grandma's pearls. Shapes can range from minor aberrations to distinctly ovoid, curved, pinched, or lumpy shapes. Most cultured freshwater pearls are baroque because freshwater pearls are mantle-tissue nucleated.
I started embroidering a new necklace this week - this one will be simple, but still hopefully gorgeous in all its simplicity. Here are some pictures from the first few steps.
And now for the strange dichotomy of the painful, yet enjoyable process of filling in the blank spaces between the beetle wings with tiny black beads. I want the necklace to highlight the beauty of the colours of the wings and the crystals, so a plain black background seemed the obvious answer.
I've had a few days off from work, trying to finish as much of my annual leave as possible before it expires on the 1st of April. However, I made the fatal mistake of bringing my work laptop home and have found myself joining meetings on Teams, writing proformas and checking my emails. However, it's nice not to have to actually go in and to be able to slob around in my PJs, bare faced and hair uncombed in a knot on top of my head. People at work probably wouldn't recognise me if they dropped in!
I saw these flowers when I went out to the conservatory to take my photographs - this one has sat at the back of my border for 15 years and comes back every winter - I rarely look at it because it is tucked away in the garden at the back of the house, and blooms only in winter - I almost never go out into the garden in the cold, being a tropical person. It is called Helleborus foetidus - not sure why as it isn't particularly stinky. I keep meaning to get some more, but haven't bothered - it is a boring green plant all year and flowers when it knows I'm not looking!
That's me for this week, folks. Have a good week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello lovely people, I hope you're all well today. Spring is in the air - I don't know about you but it seems like we've had a very short winter to me. Perhaps because we haven't been anywhere, or done anything all year - it's as if 2020 was a damp squib all round.
2021 hasn't got too much to say for itself either - the first quarter has gone by without too much fanfare.
I'm about to have my second Covid jab on Monday and I fully expect to be filled with enthusiasm, to be greeted with bells and whistles, and confetti to shower upon me. 'You're immune, You're immune' sing the bells of St Godeberta, the church of the patron saint of epidemics.
But a little voice in my head goes 'Ah, but the vaccine has only a 75% efficacy rate - how d'you know you don't belong in the other 25%?'. And the bells fade away in the distance and eventually go muffled and silent.
There's no way of knowing, is there? One just has to plod on, masked face forward.
I've been looking at these photographs everywhere, beautiful women in their acrylic chain link necklaces - the first time I saw one, I didn't think much of it, but eventually the trend grew on me and I found myself sending for acrylic chain links and making one of them myself. I added some colour with a carabiner clasp from my collection, and a couple of dangles, including a bright green cloisonne dragonfly and a large baroque pearl. Each of the links clicks into the next one, so the necklace can be shortened easily if required. I actually like the look of it. What d'you think? I gave it a practice run and people at work loved it.
The silver pendant in this necklace came from Jaipur, India - the focal stone is a red jasper crowned by moonstones. I've had it for a while and had no idea what I was going to do with it until it's moment arrived and bang! the idea descended upon me like a bolt from the blue. Rutilated quartz beads that are faceted and reflect the light, accented by even more sparkle from faceted haematite that has been electroplated with silver seemed to be the perfect match, and so they were, when I put them together in a necklace of four strands.
The tiny rutilated quartz beads are in shades ranging from clear to grey, orange-brown and black and they match the jasper and the moonstone in the pendant perfectly. The light bouncing around this necklace when it is prismed over and through the little facets cannot be picked up in any still photograph.
If you wish to read about the properties of red jasper, you can do so here, and here's a link to an article about the healing properties of rutilated quartz.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello people, how are you doing today? It's raining cats and dogs where I live, but I guess that's OK as there's nowhere to go and nothing to do because of the lockdown, which hopefully, will begin to relax bit by bit soon.
This week, I finally finished the necklace I was making last week and sent it off to its new owner. This is the second necklace I've made of this design and I'm not sure if I'll ever make another again. I've been asked about a bracelet in that vein and that's most likely a goer.
And there it is, folks, sans lizards, with bees as requested; and in a predominance of red, as that is the new owners favorite colour. The labradorite flashes a deep and vibrant blue unashamedly - the last picture was taken in the sunlight. I put it in the post this afternoon, after work and will now wait until she receives it early next week to find out what she thinks of it.
Another of my lovely clients in the USA bought this pair of earrings, but when they arrived, she felt they were too long for her and she gifted them to a friend. I was asked if I would come up with a shorter pair and once the necklace was finished, I gave that a go. The first pair, I thought were a bit longer than the remit set for me, and I had some teal coloured Shibori ribbon left over, so I started over.
Although they are in the same tones, with similar beads they are quite different. It is next to impossible to make the same narrow shape in the original pair in a shorter style, as it's beauty is because of the length which gives it a degree of grace, and the profusion of sumptuous pearls and beads. That being said the new ones are just as elegant, light and easy to wear. If the lady doesn't want them they will go onto the website next week.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello lovely people, how are you?
We are already ankle deep into March and this year seems to be shaping up very much like the last one. However, for some folks, things are moving, just a little bit.
As of today people in care homes in the UK can have one member of their household visit them indoors after having a Covid test. It won't make a difference to me because I don't know anyone in a care home, but I'll bet this news is making thousands of people very happy - I'm not sure if they are allowed to hug the people they visit, but at least they can get past talking to them through a closed window. Anyway, surely this means that things are moving in the right direction?
I haven't anywhere to go apart from work and the supermarket and nobody wants to visit me - or they can't even if they want to, unless I move to a care home. I draw the line at that move though - I'm not ready for that just yet!
Having spent the most part of last weekend on the Earrings Show, I went back to work, right into the thick of it. I have been attempting to perfect the art of not needing any sleep - or at least needing very little, so I can read my books, play with social media, make jewellery and watch a bit of TV after work. Some of these activities can be done together fortunately, so multitasking is the name of my game.
It feels like all I've done this week is to add little beads, one by one to the Woodland Fantasy sans Lizards necklace and finally my persistence has paid off and all the beadwork is finished. Here are a few pictures of the work in progress - if I carry on at this pace, it should be finished, lined, edged and the beads attached to the back by the end of next week.
For some reason, I've been obsessing about these tiny beads - I haven't played with any of the other things I so loved in the recent past - wire, or polymer clay or metal clay. I must remedy that soon, but the joy of painting with beads is so uplifting that I don't seem to want to create with anything else. I have orders for another necklace and a pair of Shibori earrings, so it may yet be a while before I move back to older techniques.
That's me for this week, folks. I shall now go and get all dressed up to go to the supermarket - heaven knows there's nowhere else to go.
Have a good week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello all you lovely people, how are you? I've been relaxing at home - I haven't gone out for the entire week, apart from the one foray into Sainsbury's to do the weekly shop on Saturday. I'll say one thing for mask wearing - you don't have to bother with make up! Anyway, hopefully our crazy, uneasy existence with masking and distancing will grind down to a slow halt at the end of this long tunnel. I hope that those of you who have been offered the vaccine have gone out and had it. I've had my first dose of the Pfizer jab with no problems at all to report, and the next one is mid March. Hubby has had his too, the Astra Zeneca one this time with no side effects either, and he has to wait till April for his second dose.
I've been prepping for the Earrings Show on Saturday/ Sunday - 27th/28th - it starts at 830 pm on the 27th, so if you can come along and support my act, please do - just click on the link or look for The Earrings Show on Facebook. This time, I've got plenty of new bead woven pieces, and they are an inexpensive yet colourful way to brighten up your outfit. I have spent a small part of each evening embroidering the new necklace I've been working on since last week - Woodland Fantasy sans lizards. A few more flowers and I'll be ready to work on some leaves.
And here are my earrings, all photographed and ready for the Earrings Show - tell me what you think. Would you wear them? If not, why not? If you like them, what is it that attracts you? I'd love to know for future reference.
The last pair were made with faceted onyx and Japanese Tensha beads - Tensha beads are handcrafted beauties, each individually made and are imported all the way from Japan. Each bead features an intricate decorative pattern of flowers, or swirling feathers. The patterns are very precise, and are actually housed within the bead - this makes the bead very durable and resistant to the scratches of wear and tear. The word Tensha means to transfer. Each delicate design is carefully placed on top of a durable acrylic round, then fully lacquered with another layer of crystal clear acrylic to protect the beautiful art from abrasion. Tensha beads are believed to have originally been created as a substitute for more traditional porcelain beads, as porcelain was harder to work with, took longer to paint, and was far more fragile. Tensha beads are made of a special acrylic that makes them lightweight. They are also provide an easier canvas so the artist can transfer even more detailed imagery without fear of loosing elements of the design in the process. I saw them used in a necklace on Pinterest and hunted them down for Caprilicious - I didn't want to swamp the detail on the beads with loads of other design elements and the earrings may be relatively simple, but they are simply beautiful and ever so light.
That's me for now, folks. Have a good week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello, good people, how's tricks today? Once again, it's lovely to touch base with you and I hope over the years that I've earned the compliment you pay me when you come back to look at the Caprilicious Blog. This week we are going to have a short post as I have been working on stuff, but it is as yet unfinished.
An enquiry came in about 'Woodland Fantasy', from a young lady who said she'd been eyeing it up for a while but in the end couldn't bring herself to make the final gesture of purchasing it because she had a dislike of lizards.
Lizards, by far get a really bad press - I myself am not particularly a fan, but they have an incredibly sinuous shape and are beautiful to create with - the ones in this necklace, I thought were pretty cute. Unfortunately I couldn't just whip them off the piece, which would have been an instant win win situation for both of us - I'm not able to add or subtract elements once the necklace is given its backing, so I did the next best thing - I agreed to take on a commissioned piece, sans lizards. The lady said she was into saving bees - so I sent away for a couple of pretty cloisonné bees and started the piece off with a labradorite cabochon I brought back from Jaipur.
This piece of Labradorite is particularly beautiful - I've shown you three pictures taken from three different angles and the flash of blue is clearly visible when the light shines on the cabochon - it looks like sheet lightening to me.
Labradorite can display an iridescent optical effect (or schiller) known as labradorescence. Thanks to the parallel formation of mineral inter-growths within the structure of the stone, light bounces back-and-forth, which creates its distinctive shimmery, ethereal effect. Not only is this visual appearance extremely attractive, but it also represents the energy of the Labradorite crystal healing properties. By guiding you toward the light and out of the darkness, Labradorite is meant to open your eyes to the magic and possibilities that surround you.
Labradorite was first found in Labrador, Canada. According to native Canadian lore, Labradorite is said to contain the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis. It is believed that the lights were “set free” by one of their ancestors who broke through the rocks with his spear. According to the legend, the lights that remained were set into stone, and thus Labradorite was born. Deposits have also been found in Madagascar, China and the USA, Finland, Russia and the Ukraine.
Herpetophobia is a fear of reptiles - lizards and snakes. I'm not a fan of creepy crawlies myself, and I totally understand this. When I trained to be a clinical hypnotherapist, we were taught to cure arachnophobia or a fear of spiders with NLP - to get the person to imagine they held a spider in the palm of their hands and the spider was wearing red lipstick and false eyelashes and fluttering it's eyes and smiling at the person whose hand it was sitting on. A more disgusting image I cannot imagine! I would've told the instructor straight away that that thought wouldn't have cured me at all and he'd need to tailor a different strategy for me, if I was a sufferer. I've heard of kissing frogs to find your prince, but this might just be taking it a bit too far.
I also found myself some Zen time by making a pair of stud earrings - I dangled a silvery grey baroque pearl from the lower edge of each stud. Simple, but effective, I think.
That's me for this week, folks. At close of play on Friday I have a week off to play with beads or whatever else I fancy. Google tells me that at this time last year I was in India, having myself a fabulous old time. It saddens me that I cannot be with my mother who, at 93 cannot last forever - I know that that particular clock is ticking, but there's not much I can do about it. We make do with video calls at the weekend, but obviously, it's not the same.
Have a wonderful week, friends, and I'll catch you next Friday, same tie, same place.
Hello, folks, it's lovely to catch up with you again. I'm back at work this week, and working all weekend - but hey! life goes on despite all that. I love my creative exploits - it is wonderful to come home and shrug off the cares of the day with a few beads and a reel of wire. That reminds me, it's been a long time since I played with wire. These days, I seem to play with seed beads all the time, but I decided to break the duck after almost an year and make a simple but rather beautiful necklace.
I saw a pendant set in sterling silver in the virtual window of a vendor from whom I tend to pick up little bits and bobs - it was breathtaking in its simplicity. I fell totally in love, and of course I had to have it for Caprilicious. Unfortunately it was just a bit too expensive, so I set about bargaining with him until I finally got it at a more realistic price. I wanted to put it in a necklace almost straight away, but decided to send for the beads (as if I don't have enough, already) and had to wait impatiently until they arrived.
At that point in time I was deep into Rhapsody in Blue so had to wait yet some more. My patience was finally rewarded this week - the necklace is finished and I think it is particularly pretty. I used a beautiful lapis and pearl silver clasp I brought back from Jaipur and sparkly, faceted haematite beads that have been electroplated with silver.
It's been so long since I made a simple but effective necklace - I've spent most of the pandemic constructing beaded confections that I had almost forgotten how - almost but not quite!
They brought me rubies from the mine,
And held them to the sun;
I said, they are drops of frozen wine
From Eden's vats that run.
R W Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the Transcendentalist Movement of the mid-19th century, which believed in the inherent goodness of people and nature, and that while society and its institutions have corrupted the purity of the individual, people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. What a brilliant concept!
Zen and the Art of Making Beaded Earrings
I've been making a few more pairs of earrings - I find that it is very soothing, sewing on little seed beads one by one, picking up colours at random, and brick stitch in particular is akin to raking sand into waves or ripple patterns - this is a practice originally used by Zen Buddhists in the attempt to focus ones mind and aid concentration.
All the days problems flow away from me as if by magic and I'm smiling as I head off to bed.
I hope you like my little earrings, they are made by weaving beads around metal frames, some of which I patinated in verdigris. I enjoyed making them and there are more to come, in preparation for The Earrings Show on the 28th of the month, and in the pursuit of Zen!
That's all I have time for, folks. Have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.